Vix Knits… and crochets and sews…

My adventures in the wonderful world of arts and crafts

Another Sambuca Jacket – finished!

I’m not sure how but I’ve just finished another Sambuca Jacket/shrug for my mum!

I mentioned last month that Mum had asked for one made of the black Twinkle yarn, but more of a shrug than a jacket (see Sambuca Jacket – finished! (plus some more Misty Morning Mitts!)

Ta da!

Mum loved it so much, she decided she’d like another one, this one in a neutral colour for day-to-day wear.

I’m also working on a novelty doorstop and I mentioned I’d have some cream yarn left over so we bought another ball of the same colour and dye lot and off I went

 Et voila!

Considering how many other projects I’m working on, I’m amazed I managed to get it finished so quickly. But I’m really glad because it’s one more thing checked off the list and means I can move on to the other crochet projects I’ve got planned (more on that another time)

So, just a couple more pretty pictures…

…and I’m off to do the useful things I’ve been putting off all morning (oops, and part of the afternoon!)

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AUSTENtatious Crochet book review

AUSTENtatious Crochet by Melissa Horozewski contains 36 designs, inspired by the world of Jane Austen but with a modern twist.

The designs are rated in difficulty from one to three crochet hooks and are stitched using a variety of yarns and hook sizes.

Being an American book, the terminology is different than UK readers are used to but once you get used to it, it’s not much of an issue.

Most of the designs are really beautiful and you can almost picture them on the set of a Regency period drama.

Some of the designs, however, are a bit too modern. The Regency Hat and Handbag, for example, aren’t really like anything that Jane Austen would have been familiar with.

I’ve tried out three designs from the book and had problems with all of them. I’ve written about my issues with the jacket, called Anne’s Spencer (see Current projects; Problems, problems, problems; And more problems!)

Before that, I stitched the Regency Handbag. It all went smoothly until it was fully stitched and I was trying to work out the pleating. The schematic shows the bag after the pleats have been put in but the pattern contains little help for actually doing it.

Now all I need to do is sew the lining and put it all together!

The first pattern I tried was one of the main reasons I bought the book – Emma’s Hood.

I mentioned before about being disappointed and eventually giving up (I tried the stitch again last night but even the tension swatch comes out wonky) but here’s the full story.

I think, to begin with, I was working the stitch wrong but I watched the online video and tried again and it worked a little better.

Unfortunately, after this, the work was still ending up the wrong shape! The first few rows are okay because there is limited shaping but when it comes to the edge shaping, one side appears to be fine while the other is sloping in the wrong direction.

I contacted Melissa and she was really very helpful to start with and even uploaded a new video about the stitch pattern and sent me link. Considering the time difference, as well, she got back to me really quickly and even half suggested we meet up to fix it (such a shame I’m across the pond)

But when I told her I was in the UK, she seemed to lose interest in my problem, stopped e-mailing and seemingly gave up.

I was so disappointed.

There are so many other designs in the book that I would like to make, for myself and as gifts, but I’m reluctant to try any of them now. I even considered selling the book on to save myself the stress…

Unfortunately, I’m rather stubborn so I’m hatching a plan to make myself the hood after all!

So, all in all, I found the book very much of a mixed bag. I wouldn’t recommend it to those new to the craft and would advise experienced stitchers to choose their patterns wisely.

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Crochet Spencer Jacket – finished!

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And more problems!

So, I’m ignoring my issues with the collar and perservering to get the jacket finished, but it’s not easy!

I went to sew in my sleeves only to discover that the sleeve shaping is too short for the armhole shaping!

Thankfully, I had a similar problem a fe years ago with a knitted jumper so I had an idea how to fix things.

Unfortunately, it’s a case of workign to make it fit rather than redo-ing it to make it fit (or is that a good thing?)

First of all, make sure the ‘flats’ of the shaping are sewn together properly.

I tend to use a crochet slip stitch to sew up but any other method should work just as well.

Next, fold the sleeve in half and ‘pin’ it in place at the shoulder (I tie mine with some extra yarn)

This will ensure that the sleeve sits properly

Here, you can see the problem a bit more clearly

Now, take a deep breath and have a cuppa because here comes the tricky part!

You need to pleat or ruche the longer edge to make it fit more evenly.

So, instead of working evenly with one stitch sewing into one stitch, I sewed two or three on the armhole shaping into one on the sleeve shaping.

Keep a note of what you’re doing so the sleeves will be the same.

I hope that all makes sense!

I’d also had an inkling that the sleeves would be too short (of course they are!)

Another benefit of crochet is the ease of lengthening pieces. I joined in some yarn to the cuff and crocheted another three rows before sewing up the sleeve seam.

Much better! Now I just need to repeat the process on the other side…

Time for another fortifying cuppa, I think!

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Problems, problems, problems

Well, no sooner have I fixed one problem but another one pops up!

I mentioned yesterday about having problems with the shoulder shaping on my jacket. This morning, I laid it all out and went back through the pattern to see if I’d done something wrong, wrote down the shaping instructions, everything I could think of! Nothing worked.

Thankfully, the shaping was only three rows so I decided to take it out and redo it to make it fit. That’s one of the things I love about crochet vs knitting, it’s so much easier to undo and redo any mistakes.

Anyway, I sorted out the shaping and attached the two front pieces to the back so I could start on the collar. Being a little bit obsessive, I not only started but finished the collar… and it looks AWFUL!

Jacket front (no sleeves yet!)

Front collar close-up

Back collar close-up

Full collar

Looking at it with fresh eyes, maybe awful is a bit harsh but the shaping is nowhere near as subtle as it appears in the book.

I think I’ll stick with it… hopefully things will look better when it’s done.

I have to say though, my opinion of this book is up and down like a yo-yo so look out for a review once I’ve finished the jacket!

I’d really love to know what you all think of the collar, I’m still not convinced

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